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Nagano Niigata Guided Ski & Snowboard Tour

Ikenotaira is one of the Myoko ski resorts
Ikenotaira is one of the Myoko ski resorts

Ikenotaira

Ikenotaira Ski Resort

The Ikenotaira Onsen Ski Resort is one of the Myoko ski resorts and it’s ideal for beginners to intermediates. Ikenotaira is also particularly good for wannabe powder hounds because the slopes are mellow, there’s plenty of powder, and there is little competition for the freshies because most riders are there for the terrain parks and pipe. The only time Myoko Ikenotaira isn’t so good for powder puppies is when the snow is super deep and you need a wax, because it’s easy to get bogged.

Ikenotaira Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Ikenotaira is medium sized for a Japanese ski resort (so in other words it’s small!) with only 10 courses (ie piste) and 6 lifts (made up of 1 hooded quad chair and 5 slow doubles). Like its neighbour Suginohara, Ikenotaira is more long than it is wide, with a vertical drop of 740 metres (760 – 1,500m).

The piste runs are mostly for beginners and low-end intermediates. The green runs are located near the base and vary from open wide to tree lined trails, whilst the intermediate slopes are located in the top half of the resort and are wide with plenty of room for error. There is nothing really on offer for advanced riders on-piste and the trail stats (40% beginner, 45% intermediate, 15% advanced) probably exaggerate the amount of black diamond terrain – the 2 little runs are laughable to be classified as “advanced”. Ikenotaira Ski Resort offers a little bit of tree skiing for advanced riders, but it’s not very pitchy.

A major forte of Myoko Ikenotaira is the terrain parks. They change every season and generally include big jumps, boxes, rails, and a half pipe.

Ikenotaira Snow

Many of the Japanese ski resorts are not big on boasting about their mega snowfall statistics, and Ikenotaira is no exception. The average seasonal snowfall is thought to be about 9-13 metres. Snow quality is generally very good, although very few of the slopes have a north-facing aspect.

Where is Ikenotaira Onsen?

The Ikenotaira Ski Resort has Suginohara Ski Resort to its south and Akakan to its north, but the Myoko ski areas are not interconnected via the slopes and lifts. The Ikenotaira Ski Resort has Ikenotaira Onsen (hot spring) village at its base area, which is 4km from downtown Myokokogen (where the train station is) and 3.5km from Akakura Onsen (the main village of Myoko Kogen).

For those staying overnight in Ikenotaira Onsen accommodation, some of the lodges provide free shuttle services between Myokokogen train station and Ikenotaira, or it’s very easy to get a taxi to your accommodation.

For day trippers from Akakura Onsen, there are hourly free shuttle buses to Ikenotaira that depart from near the post office. Your accommodation should be able to provide you with a timetable. Sometimes the buses are a bit unreliable (which is weird for Japan!). As an alternative, if you’re on a Myoko Powder Package, private transfers from Akakura Onsen to Ikenotaira for day trips are included. 

Ikenotaira Onsen Accommodation

The base area isn’t really a village but more an assortment of pensions, hotels and ryokans. Most of the lodgings have hot springs and offer half board considering that other evening dining options in Ikenotaira Onsen are somewhat lacking.

Ikenotaira Onsen Accommodation Listings

Facilities

The Ikenotaira Onsen ski resort facilities are adequate but reasonably simple. The ski and snowboard rental shops are very cheap, but if you want quality equipment you’d be better off renting in Akakura. There are base area restaurants, a gift shop, convenience store, and a kids play area. Day visitors can also enjoy a soak in an onsen and the resort offers lift ticket plus onsen deals.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Ikenotaira Onsen

Pros

  • Ikenotaira Ski Resort has a great terrain park and pipe.
  • The terrain is ideal for beginners to intermediates.
  • The ski area is a quiet alternative to the other main Myoko ski resorts, so L-plater powder hounds can experiment in the powder in peace.

Cons

  • It’s a mellow mountain, so those looking for steeps should head elsewhere. When the powder is a bit heavy or deep, there generally isn’t enough gradient to keep enough momentum.
  • Some of the lifts are very slow.
  • If you stay overnight in Ikenotaira Onsen accommodation, there’s nothing much to do for après ski except have a soak in the onsen, have dinner, and go to bed.

Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective

  • In the “village” of Ikenotaira Onsen there are lots of people that don’t speak English and it has retained its traditional Japanese-ness.

Tours That May Include Ikenotaira

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From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
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From price based on twin/triple/quad-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
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Sample price based on twin/double-share option based on 7-night / 6-day sample package
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*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
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From price based on a twin share room (price displayed is per person).
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*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
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From price based on Hakuba day tour, group of 5 (price displayed is per person however full tour price is 5 X that price).
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*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
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